How do I end things with a guy that I want to still be friends with?
In our book Smitten we discuss the attitude of Non-Attachment when embarking upon a night out. An essential aspect of this attitude is not getting fixated on a particular outcome for the evening. By remaining non-attached you are open to endless possibilities while reducing the chances of disappointment, because as we know, life rarely turns out according to plan.
Considering your dilemma, Reader, we suggest taking on the same attitude. During your breakup talk, let your guy down as gently and honestly as possible. State your desire to remain friends as you truly value his presence in your life (feel free to name all the reasons why… flattery does count for something). Yet all the while remain unattached to his response. The bottom line is that he’s being dumped and he may not ever want to see your stinkin’ face again. That’s his prerogative. It’ll be tough to sweet-talk him from romantic longing into friendly affection in one conversation. He will have to make that transition himself, in his own time. So say your piece, and let go.
Second, you may have to tolerate being the “bad guy” for a while. Understandably, he’s not going to feel very good about being broken up with and he may need to hate you, tear you to shreds and drag you through the dirty mud of his mind for a time. Let him. Don’t try to keep your good guy facade. Once fully experienced and satisfied, his need to detest you will likely pass.
Third, have zero communication for a period of time. We suggest a minimum of three months. No texting, emailing or talking. You both need space to energetically sever the romantic connections. He’s probably going to need a few make-out sessions to get his confidence back up and running and realize you’re not the only mermaid in the sea. This is necessary, because you won’t genuinely be able to be friends if he is still pining for you.
Fourth, be patient. Life is long. There’s lots of time to develop a new kind of relationship with him. It doesn’t have to happen immediately. Let it unfold naturally. If the fabric of friendship is there beneath your romance, time will not deteriorate, but only strengthen its fibers.